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Richard Commey, Jose Pedraza to fight July 23

BY: Bernard Neequaye
Richard Commey is expected to return on july 23
Richard Commey is expected to return on july 23

Former IBF lightweight titlist, Richard Commey, is billed to take on Jose Pedraza at super lightweight on July 23 at the Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minnesota, on a Top Rank show on ESPN.

Commey (30-4, 27 KOs) will be making his 140-pound debut against Pedraza (29-4, 14 KOs), a former lightweight champion who will be having his sixth fight in the weight.

The New York-based Ghanaian fighter is expected to make a successful return into the ring after losing a one-sided bout to Vasyl Lomachenko last December.

Confirming the bout, Commey’s manager, Michael Amoo-Bediako of Streetwise Management, explained that the date was being considered by the promoters, Top Rank.

He, however, stressed that contracts were yet to be signed by the two boxers to make the bout formal.

“Negotiations are far-advanced and July 23 is being considered as the proposed date for the bout.

“We are, however, yet to sign the respective contracts to make the bout formal and that is the only thing left at the moment,” Amoo-Bediako told Graphic Sports.

Commey rebounded with three wins to set up a second world title shot after losing his maiden championship fight against Robert Easter Jnr in 2016. This time he stopped Isa Chaniev in two rounds for the vacant IBF 135-pound title. Commey again stopped Ray Beltran in round eight in June 2019 after becoming a champion in February that year, before surrendering his title to Teofimo Lopez in December.

It took the 35-year-old Ghanaian 14 months to get back in the win column against Jackson Marinez, before being roundly beaten by Vasiliy Lomachenko in a unanimous decision last December.

Pedraza was a decorated amateur, representing Puerto Rico at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He went unbeaten in 19 fights, before winning the vacant IBF junior lightweight title against Andrey Klimov in June 2015.

After two defences, he was stopped by rising star Gervonta Davis in seven rounds in January 2017. The defeat prompted him to move up to lightweight, where he quickly won the WBO title against Beltran, before losing a unification bout against his WBA counterpart, Lomachenko.

Pedraza, 33, moved up in weight again to 140 pounds and is now looking forward to making his sixth appearance at super lightweight.